Japanese carmaker Honda will commence producing a new electric car en masse by the end of this year, it has announced, alongside news that a concept version of the EV will be unveiled in March in Geneva, Switzerland.
Rumours flitting around the internet that Honda would unveil a prototype of a new electric car concept have now been confirmed with the release of a new design sketch ahead of the 2019 Geneva Motor Show.
The image of the new electric concept vehicle, which is for all intents and purposes a slightly refined version of Honda’s previous Urban EV concept from the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, was published on the automaker’s website yesterday.
Honda says that the clean, retro-inspired design that harks back to the Honda N600 has been “developed with a focus on functionality and purpose,” steering away from the sleek curves of Tesla, Porsche and Jaguar electric cars and the sporty lines of Hyundai’s Kona EV.
It doesn’t even go near the mainstream “Just ignore me, I’m not even an electric car” camouflage of fellow Japanese carmaker Nissan’s Leaf EV.
The teaser of the new concept precedes the full production version that Honda says it will begin producing later this year (apparently for the European market), and is according to the automaker, “a further demonstration of Honda’s ‘Electric Vision’, a commitment that two-thirds of European sales will feature electrified technology by 2025”.
Signed by the stylists of Honda Design, the sketch of the new concept that will be on show at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show does not differ greatly from the 2017 Urban EV concept, but suggests a more sloped windshield and front hood.
Specs no doubt will come to hand closer to production – but what we can say for now is that it will retain the black front stripe in which the headlights are integrated and which features an illuminated Honda logo and LED message display between the headlights.
The retro aesthetic combined with more bulky wheel steps give the car a sporty feel and a wider posture, qualities not incompatible with its status as an efficient model thanks to its electric propulsion train.
The sketch also reveals that it will be the first model in its category to have cameras instead of exterior mirrors, a feature that so far has been limited to upper segment models such as the Audi e-tron or the Lexus ES.
While the funky EV design may sit well with a younger consumer market, whether or not it will make it to Australia is entirely another matter – Honda has previously said that with “very, very low” demand in the Aussie EV market, it’s not willing to take the risk.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.